Do I need 20 amp circuit? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Do I need 20 amp circuit?

My current media room is on 15 amp circuit. I was looking at rotel vs outlaw vs emotiva. Many of them recommend 20 amp circuit. I will be driving jbl studio for now but later will have Dedicated theater with either wisdom/JTR or other spl speakers and 20 amp circuits. Do I need to upgrade to 20 amp circuit in current set up or what would be good rec for 15 amp amplifier with 200w 5 Chanel output. I use yamaha rx677bl for receiver
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post #2 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drriddhish View Post
My current media room is on 15 amp circuit. I was looking at rotel vs outlaw vs emotiva. Many of them recommend 20 amp circuit. I will be driving jbl studio for now but later will have Dedicated theater with either wisdom/JTR or other spl speakers and 20 amp circuits. Do I need to upgrade to 20 amp circuit in current set up or what would be good rec for 15 amp amplifier with 200w 5 Chanel output. I use yamaha rx677bl for receiver
Well more power is better but I have run 200wpc amps loud all day long on 15amp circuits with no issues.

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post #3 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 10:57 AM
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Well if you do need it, here's what's going to happen. The breaker flip. That's it. You go reset it. Then you can pay to have it changed.

The alternative is you have the same cost, pay it now though quite likely you don't need it.

Many times companies put that in to CYA and set expectations. In the cases where someone has a lot running on that circuit, they can have an angry customer. If they have already said you might need this then it's easier for them.
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post #4 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drriddhish View Post
My current media room is on 15 amp circuit. I was looking at rotel vs outlaw vs emotiva. Many of them recommend 20 amp circuit. I will be driving jbl studio for now but later will have Dedicated theater with either wisdom/JTR or other spl speakers and 20 amp circuits. Do I need to upgrade to 20 amp circuit in current set up or what would be good rec for 15 amp amplifier with 200w 5 Chanel output. I use yamaha rx677bl for receiver
Here's what I currently have running on a single 15 amp circuit:

Yamaha A2040 AVR driving only 2 channels.
5x Outlaw 200W mono blocks. (600W max load each)
400W sub x2
1000W sub x 2
Multiple media boxes, players, DVR, etc.
65" Plasma display.

I've never tripped that breaker, and its not for lack of trying. Previously I had a Sunfire 400W x 5 amp running in the same setup.
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post #5 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 01:33 PM
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[QUOTE=drriddhish;29361338]My current media room is on 15 amp circuit. I was looking at rotel vs outlaw vs emotiva. Many of them recommend 20 amp circuit. I will be driving jbl studio for now but later will have Dedicated theater with either wisdom/JTR or other spl speakers and 20 amp circuits. Do I need to upgrade to 20 amp circuit in current set up or what would be good rec for 15 amp amplifier with 200w 5 Chanel output. I use yamaha rx677bl for receiver[/QUOT
I can help, but let's clarify a few things. Is your current 15 amp circuit dedicated or does it have multiple outlets on it for general use?

Are you soon going to update your electrical circuits in that room anyway?

If you can get use of a device called Kill-a-Watt you can find out how much current your equipment is drawing at any one time. But it tells you nothing about what else is on that circuit. But an electrician could.

You should plan a circuit to have no more than 80% of the breaker rating for several reasons. If you're continuously over that you will shorten the life of the breaker but more importantly you will be experiencing mini brown outs on that particular circuit.

Don't put much faith in anecdotal stories about how much equipment has been running on one circuit. People in the know don't.

The quickest way to educate yourself about this is through an electrical savvy friend that's also into audio.

Bogged down with relatives right now, but I'll try to follow.

BTW I'm a retired industrial controls electrician with a fifty year audio hobby.

Patrick
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post #6 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 01:37 PM
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If-you do change it put a surge protect breaker in the panel. Actually very easy to do only two wires, and it pops right in. just go by the brand panel you have.
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post #7 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drriddhish View Post
My current media room is on 15 amp circuit. I was looking at rotel vs outlaw vs emotiva. Many of them recommend 20 amp circuit. I will be driving jbl studio for now but later will have Dedicated theater with either wisdom/JTR or other spl speakers and 20 amp circuits. Do I need to upgrade to 20 amp circuit in current set up or what would be good rec for 15 amp amplifier with 200w 5 Chanel output. I use yamaha rx677bl for receiver
Go with 20 amp line with Furutech or Voodoo receptacles.
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post #8 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 02:26 PM
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Don't just change the breaker though, the circuit needs to be repulled with 12AWG wire. I'd replace the receptacles too, I like to replace everything with 'spec grade' (higher quality) devices whenever I have to do it. Never use the back stabs, ever. Currently they are still legal for 14AWG wire (15A circuits) but even on those I use the screws. Back stabs cause too many problems when they age. Receps with a self grounding feature (most spec grade) are nice if you have metal boxes, saves time on install. "Back wire" receps are even nicer (have little clamps under the screws; a lot of GFCIs are like this) if you can find them.

You don't need to use 20A receps on a 20A residential circuit unless you have equipment with a 20A plug (rare) and in that case you probably want to run a dedicated circuit for that equipment only.

I'm a little skeptical that an 'audiophile' receptacle is better than a spec grade one from a respected manufacturer, e.g. Leviton, Pass & Seymour, etc.

NB: if this work requires a permit in your area current code requires tamper proof receptacles in a lot of cases; my local supply houses don't sell them in spec grade as tamper proof isn't required for commercial work, so you'll likely have to look up part numbers and order ahead of time.

Also look at NEC box fill calcs, if you have an older house you may have single gang boxes that are too small by current code for 2x 14/2WG never mind 12/2WG plus a recep so those may have to be replaced as well.

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post #9 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 02:31 PM
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Stay focused on your circuit issues. Surge protection is a separate conversation. Fancy receptacles are useless.

Patrick
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post #10 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 02:46 PM
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BTW I just looked up some of those fancy receps... $70 for a single recep is ludicrous. I bet those are probably just good quality receps with a fancy box and a big markup added to them. If you really want to feel like you're getting something special, get a hospital grade recep, they are literally the best you can buy, and still are MUCH less than $70 apiece.

IMHO spec grade is fine for residential however. The only ones I really don't like are the builder grade ones that you likely are using now (and were probably back stabbed by the installing electrician.). If you aren't doing this yourself but decide to go forward with the upgrade, when you work out the contract with your electrician I would write into it that he must use at least spec grade devices of your preferred color. Also to protect yourself make sure that it says that all work will be performed in compliance with whatever version of the NEC your local AHJ uses and that the contractor is responsible for any and all required permits and inspections.

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post #11 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 02:56 PM
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Let's stop using bandwidth discussing fancy receptacles. Anything above cheap is sufficient. Period, end of story!!!!

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post #12 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 02:59 PM
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Another though. Rather than rewiring it may be easier to just cut in an old work box at the location of your HT stuff and pull a 12/2 home run to a new 20A breaker

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post #13 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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My home is 2 yrs old. I went into attic right behind my media room (1st floor) and it looks like it will be easy run for electrician if I were to have dedicated new 20 amp circuit, as breaker for whole house is right beneath in laundry room. I will get some quotes and I appreciate all the help. I rather pay for licensed electrician and not risk a fire/equipment damage. @n8nagel and @Patrick Collins appreciate your detailed comments. Any idea on how much it usually costs for such run?
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post #14 of 20 Unread 11-26-2014, 09:50 PM
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In some jurisdictions, the work MUST be done by a licensed electrician - you may be able to replace accessories like lights, wall sconces and switches without an electrician, but running new circuits or replacing existing internal wiring may require an electrician. Check with the local laws to be sure. Failing to do so can invalidate your insurance, not something you want to find out when you need it most and the insurance company is looking for any excuse to deny your claim.
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post #15 of 20 Unread Yesterday, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Worf View Post
In some jurisdictions, the work MUST be done by a licensed electrician - you may be able to replace accessories like lights, wall sconces and switches without an electrician, but running new circuits or replacing existing internal wiring may require an electrician. Check with the local laws to be sure. Failing to do so can invalidate your insurance, not something you want to find out when you need it most and the insurance company is looking for any excuse to deny your claim.
Correct.

The last house that I owned the jurisdiction in which I lived did allow a homeowner to pull their own permit and self-perform, but an inspection was required - so I did. (good thing too, turns out the electrical inspector was friends with someone with whom I had to deal with inspections in a professional capacity in a nearby jurisdiction, so sometimes it pays to play by the rules. Also, since we did sell the house a few years later, it was nice to have a sign off on it.) If I hired someone to do the work, however, it would have had to have been a licensed electrician - *only* the homeowner can pull the permit/do the work without having an electrician's license.

Some places may not allow you to do this however and it is worth investigating.

Now that I'm back in front of a PC, this is a receptacle that I would recommend as being way better than builder grade, still affordable, and possibly overkill for residential use, but don't you like installing quality?

http://www.hubbellcatalog.com/wiring...ade&PN=HBL5262

Personally I think that even that one is a little expensive but OK for one or two mission critical locations, I think these are the ones I used in my last house when I had to replace them all (as they were all builder-grade ones probably installed in the 70s or 80s by a previous owner, and lots of them wouldn't reliably retain a plug)

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/Produ...minisite=10251

Only slightly more expensive than "builder grade" but definitely worth the little extra coin for the better quality construction and increased reliability/durability.

I like using spec grade toggle switches as well; they just feel more quality when you flip them and much less arcing when switching heavy loads...

Here is one that you would probably have to special order, but is a "commercial grade" (similar to "spec grade") receptacle that is tamper resistant, if that is required in your jurisdiction

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/Produ...minisite=10251

Finally Hubbell 8200 is their version of a "hospital grade" receptacle if you just want the best of the best. Hubbell has a rep for being the best devices available and that's the highest grade. I see NO justification for paying any more even if you are insistent on having the very best available.

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post #16 of 20 Unread Yesterday, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drriddhish View Post
My home is 2 yrs old. I went into attic right behind my media room (1st floor) and it looks like it will be easy run for electrician if I were to have dedicated new 20 amp circuit, as breaker for whole house is right beneath in laundry room. I will get some quotes and I appreciate all the help. I rather pay for licensed electrician and not risk a fire/equipment damage. @n8nagel and @Patrick Collins appreciate your detailed comments. Any idea on how much it usually costs for such run?
I won't be able to answer that, I've never hired anyone to do work like this

I'd bet it'd be somewhere in the $500-1K range but I'm totally dartboarding - just guessing a few hours at $100-120 an hour plus a couple hundred bucks for the service call/truck charge. The materials are probably <$100 contractor's cost.
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Originally Posted by n8nagel View Post
I won't be able to answer that, I've never hired anyone to do work like this

I'd bet it'd be somewhere in the $500-1K range but I'm totally dartboarding - just guessing a few hours at $100-120 an hour plus a couple hundred bucks for the service call/truck charge. The materials are probably <$100 contractor's cost.
To me it was worth getting done, one day I'm going with seperates.
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To the OP: probably not.

Long story short: if you're running a new circuit anyway, go ahead and go 20A because the marginal cost difference is very low. If not, don't mess with anything unless you routinely trip your breaker, or you have another reason to futz with the electrical system (noise, etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
Here's what I currently have running on a single 15 amp circuit:

Yamaha A2040 AVR driving only 2 channels.
5x Outlaw 200W mono blocks. (600W max load each)
400W sub x2
1000W sub x 2
Multiple media boxes, players, DVR, etc.
65" Plasma display.

I've never tripped that breaker, and its not for lack of trying. Previously I had a Sunfire 400W x 5 amp running in the same setup.
Audio just doesn't require large continuous power. I have a similar story: in my old condo I was running an Anthem AVR, ATI AT2007 (200Wx7), and an ElectroVoice CPS8.5 (1kWx3, 500Wx2 in my configuration), along with lights, a ceiling fan, and a TV on a single circuit. Admittedly, I do now have a 20A circuit for all my audio stuff, but that's only because I was already going to have a dedicated circuit installed in the basement for my sub amp, and the cost difference was de minimis.

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post #19 of 20 Unread Yesterday, 12:22 PM
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I use an EP-2050 (the best I could find, cost no object) for whole house surge protection / noise filteration on my main breaker panel:
http://store.acousticfrontiers.com/E...Protector.html


And I have eight dedicated 20 amp circuits (one for video and seven for audio).


I paid $300.00 for installation plus I paid for all the parts (in Tucson, AZ). I purchased ROMEX 12AWG (Cryogenically treated).
http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/pro...n-wall-wiring/


The receptacles are Maestro:
http://www.cruzefirstaudio.com/maestro_outlet.htm


Except the TV receptacle which is from MIT:
http://ww2.mitcables.com/available-i...lex-super.html
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post #20 of 20 Unread Today, 07:12 AM
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Really? From the "Maestro Outlet" link

Quote:
"The Maestro Outlet" is a simple but effective power outlet made from a high-purity copper/brass alloy mix with no plating. It is 20-amp rated and built to exacting standards. The Outlet is then taken through a professional microprocessor controlled deep cryogenic process and then treated with or special coating for RFI / EMI interference rejection and enhanced for mechanical dampening. Finally is is taken through our proprietary break-in process for 2 weeks. The result is an incredible "Bare Passage To The Music Source".
From the Hubbell BR15TR data sheet:

http://www.hubbellcatalog.com/wiring...lade&PN=BR15TR

Power Contacts Material .030" (.8) Brass

(brass by definition is an alloy of copper and zinc, so I'm not sure what a "high-purity copper/brass alloy mix" is)

I also do not believe that cryogenically treating brass in a receptacle does ANYTHING for it. Most references to cryo treating brass seem to be regarding the bodies of musical instruments and don't reference anything about electrical properties at all. Additionally, "mechanical dampening" should not be an issue for a receptacle.

I also don't believe for a second that your amplifier, preamp, etc. cares one bit that you used cryogenically treated Romex. All they care about is that the proper voltage is present with a roughly sinusoidal waveform and that there's not too much noise superimposed on same (although a reasonable amount should be taken care of by power supply and associated filtering. If it's not, I would consider that a sign of poorly designed equipment.)

Finally, the receptacle linked does not appear to be tamper resistant meaning it would not meet NEC for a residential building in most places.

So again, I'd recommend a good quality spec, commercial, or hospital grade receptacle and appropriately sized cable (12 AWG for a 20A circuit; 10 AWG if it is an exceptionally long run - but please note that that would still not allow you to use a 30A breaker if using a NEMA 5-15R or 5-20R receptacle) and that's really all you need. If you feel the need to protect it somehow from corrosion - which should not be an issue at all - squirt some Deoxit in it and let it dry before installation.

I apologize if I'm coming across as harsh or argumentative, but there's a big difference between doing a little overkill to assure a supply of good clean power on an isolated circuit and simply spending money on products that do absolutely nothing whatsoever to improve sound or picture quality, and IMHO fancy cryogenically-treated this and that fall under the latter category.

Of *far* more value than anything else discussed in this thread besides the above would be some sort of whole house surge protection as several people have mentioned, and if brownouts/blackouts are a concern in your area possibly a true online/double conversion, true sine wave UPS sized appropriately to the load (and then some) hooked to it. Related to the above, I would ensure that the grounding system of your house is up to snuff so that any surge protection has a good path to ground to allow it to work as designed. None of this will make your system sound any better, unless there is a massive amount of noise on your AC, but it *will* give you peace of mind that your equipment won't get zapped. I've seen it happen - at my last house a tree fell on some high voltage lines which then fell on the 240 lines feeding a mess of houses in my neighborhood - guy I know a street over lost a couple expensive TVs etc. and Dominion Power wouldn't honor any claims as they invoked the "act of God" clause. I had an inexpensive Siemens surge/TVSS breaker in my panel and surge strips feeding most electronics in my house - I lost the power supply to my electrostatic air filter, the main control board for the dishwasher (both fed directly from the panel, so only protection was the surge breaker) and one ancient surge strip in the master bedroom done blowed up, but the equipment connected to it was OK.

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